The Reformist Rapper. That’s Pranav Chaganty for you, my dear comrades. Here’s a guy, who is trying to change the society we live in, one word at a time. Until recently, I had only heard of Pranav from different sources, (most of them idealists who make my day alive), and the work he had taken up. What piqued my interest, of course, was that he wasn’t just another flash-in-the-pan Rapper, who with his weird antics and gaudy makeup, was trying to mash things up. No, no, here was a guy who understood Rap in its perfect essence. Here was a guy, who reminded the millennial in me, of the great Rapper, Eminem, who practically defined cause-based music. This made me sit up and take notice, and slowly my admiration for Pranav grew multifold, and of course, I had to talk to him as to what made him click. Thus, come the wonderful thoughts of the Poet and Rapper, Pranav Chaganty down below…
When we look at the genre of Rap, it is imperative that we usually consider it to be a second rung art form, perhaps behind the classical music, pop and rock as well. Why do you think that is, and more importantly, what made you take up this particular style of music?
The one thing that I strongly believe in is that people understand an issue or a concern, more clearly when we tell them about it in the form of words rather than in poetic lyrics. The reason behind this is based on relatability. See, when we are among friends, we converse in words, and not in verses, right? That’s when we talk directly to the person and point to his soul. Being concise and precise at the same time is an art in itself. And that is what Rap music is all about. To speak to you as a friend in a language that you understand.
We are curious, what’s your story Pranav Chaganty? In that sense, where do you hail from, and when you pick up this genre of music, Telugu Rap specifically, how do you want to bring an influence to the society?
So my story starts at my 6th standard. I was put into IIT coaching in my 6th standard itself. Waking up every day at 4.30 AM, and attending classes thereon, became my routine. For the next 5 years that became my life. But at a point, I got totally fed up of what I was doing. I realised that I didn’t want to do it. I neither had the IQ for it perhaps nor did I have the interest to go in. So, therefore, after 6 years of preparation, I didn’t give my IIT Entrance exam because, by the 2nd year of my Intermediate, I had already decided that this was not what I was meant to be. Also, I wasn’t that much prepared for the exam as well, because nothing got registered in my mind all those years. I was just like a ROBOT who woke up and went to the institute every single day.
Eventually, I did my Engineering within EEE stream. As we are a middle-class family, there were frequent financial problems as well, cropping up every now and then. As it went, an Uncle of mine, suggested to my parents that I should probably look into joining Merchant Navy, as it offered great salary packages. But then again, I led a robotic life, working in Merchant Navy for a good year and a half. It was good income of course, but yet, there was some vacuum I was finding in my life. See, the work inside Merchant Navy, was heavy work, you know, which kept you engaged all through the day. Because of it, I couldn’t listen to Music and Poetry, which was always my interest. This I had never realised before, it was when I was missing it, that I realised my passion towards Music. So then after, serving for A year and a half, and sailing all around, I decided that Music and Poetry were what I wanted to do. And here I am.
Now, how do I want to influence the society? I don’t know. Perhaps, if we could work really hard, and from the heart and towards something genuine, I’m sure that pays off. Work well a 100% and never worry about the results of your work. That’s the mantra.
Presently, the latest video that you came out with Drunkard On The Road, addresses the issue of Drunkards. In this context, do you think you are more inclined towards Social issues? Also when we look at the current music or web works, most of these things just go for the entertainment value, some channels and youtube stars actually Promoting drinking liquor for that matter. Why do you think that is?
I have always been an emotional person since I was a kid. I used to get very sad and rattled, whenever I came across news like Rapes, Acid Attack, Animal torture etc. So I discovered that writing about them in the form of a beautiful poetry would become a worthy venting out mechanism. I used to write, filling my works with all the pent up emotions, and frustrations I had towards the society. I still do that. And that’s how I want to try and bring a considerable change in the world we live in.
Moreover, RAP is all about addressing the social issues. Unfortunately, today RAP music is being used for party songs and silly mashups. RAP from its original state was always about addressing a change and taking up a resolution. That is what I truly believe in and work towards. I don’t want to be just some random entertainer. I want to be a Real Rapper for a cause.
Could you explain to us briefly as to how you construct your Rap works? Are there stages that you undergo and perhaps arrive at the final product? Or is it more towards on the spot production? How do you ensure that the best work comes out every single time?
See basically, I love to construct complex word structures. It’s like a puzzle to me. The beauty of Telugu is in its derivatives. For every single word used, you can find that there are many poetic derivatives for it. The language vocals and structuring are just so magical. And thus, constructing complex word structures and wordplays gives me immense joy and satisfaction that I can never explain. In my journey, my biggest inspiration has been the legendary revolutionary poet, Sri Sri. He was a great rapper in his time.
Coming to the work process, So first I think of a concept and sit and write the song. Then I add the music to it and later hand it over to my team (TAMADA MEDIA). They take care of the Video, editing and post-production work.
Until this point, how has your journey been as a Telugu Rapper of fame? What are the highs and lows of your career that you look back to on this day, and how do you think your experiences have influenced or defined the work you bring out?
I quit my already good going career in the Merchant Navy for Music and poetry. Again I was heavily criticised by my relatives, friends and even family! Then my brother stepped up and got me to where I am now. He’s my everything! He protects me from all the negativity!
If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be having this conversation and I guess I’d be sailing right now. No one supported us in the journey nor did we have any influential background to get an easy break. It’s always been me and my brother Sriharsha Teja. I love it that way.
And regarding the fame, I don’t really care about it, as long as I’m influencing the society with my works.
Coming to my experiences, there was a person who wrote an emotional letter to me mentioning how drinking ruined his life and how he used to fight with his mother every day and my song “DRUNKARD ON THE ROAD” made him quit his drinking. Now, He’s blessed with a beautiful daughter and he’s so happy with his family. Thus, I wouldn’t trade this beautiful satisfaction for any other thing in the world. Anything at all!
One of the main concerns we hear these days is that Telugu Indie music, is not really thriving. When you compare it to say Hindi Music scene, where Indie bands and artists are being highly appreciated and sponsored. Comment.
The basic tragedy happening with us, Telugu people, is this bewildering affection to foreign languages. We practically enjoy everything from these other languages. Obviously, it’s not wrong, but when your own guy is doing something new and original, will we encourage him? Nope. Never?
We also can’t totally blame them, because most of the independent songs these days have Zero Lyrical Quality! None at all! They just want to do a song coz “Independent Songs Are Less In Telugu”.That’s it. There’s no genuine purpose or a responsibility. So when we ask for identity or fame or even recognition, why would anyone give us anything at all?
You become an inspiration of sorts, to the new age music composers and rappers, so now where do you think you want to be in the next 5 to 7 years. Also, to people who are aspiring to pick this genre of music and bring awareness to the world we live in, what would your suggestion be to them? How do you think they should go about doing their music?
To all those who wanna take up Rap, just be Real! You don’t have to imitate anyone. Doing just “YO YO” sporting an XXL t-shirt and a snapback hat doesn’t make you a rapper. Talk about your life and your neighbourhood. BE REAL, BE HONEST!
FINALLY!!! My dream is to become one of the Best Telugu poets ever! I want to propagate our culture and language. As great poets like Nannaya, Tikkanna, Palkuriki Somanna, passed on the beauty of our language to the next generation, our generation, in a similar way, I want to be such a vehicle as well. A vehicle via which works of our contemporary poets and thinkers, like Sri Sri, Cinare, Dasaradhi, Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, Veturi and others, are passed down to our coming generation. I want to hand over the beauty of Telugu language to the future and be termed as one of the best poets in the history. All I care about is the satisfaction I get by producing beautiful Telugu word structures and sounds.
Do start following his YouTube channel for more exciting and awakening stuff coming your way, right here, right now..!!